Matt Neal and Tom Chilton
posted the quickest times during free practice for the HiQ MSA British Touring Car Championship finale at Brands Hatch.
Neal set the pace during the first session for VX Racing, despite being forced to park his Vectra on the exit of Paddock Hill Bend with a blown engine. Neal was followed on the times by Jason Plato
and an impressive Chilton in the Team Aon Ford Focus, with Jonny Adam, Colin Turkington
and Andrew Jordan
rounding out the top six.
Fabrizio Giovanardi, Turkington's closest title challenger, could only manage the 12th quickest time as he made his return to the GP circuit for the first time since his F3000 days. Johnny Herbert, on his return to Brands, was 17th quickest.
Drivers in trouble included Honda trio Martyn Bell, John George
and Matt Hamilton, while Martin Johnson only ran limited laps to conserve his engine.
More changes to the Ford Focus then allowed Chilton to set the quickest time of the day to date to lead the way in the second practice session, while Paul O'Neill was impressive in his sunshine.co.uk Honda Integra to set the second quickest time.
Adam was third ahead of Plato, Mat Jackson
and Tom Onslow-Cole, with Jordan seventh and Giovanardi eighth – despite spinning off early on in the session at Paddock Hill. Despite that, the Italian was quicker than Turkington, who slotted into ninth.
Neal had further engine issues and the team has now gone over its engine allocation for the season and will take a ten place penalty in the teams' championship standings as a result.